Short story: Cut in Cursive

Dust motes danced in the early morning light that filtered through the closed shutters. With a table fork I carved the name ‘Ruben’ into the wooden dresser, low down, where it wouldn’t be noticed. It took a long time before I was finally happy with the cursive letters.

Later, at breakfast with my mother and Oskar, I watched the name out of the corner of my eye. It looked lonely and I thought that maybe tomorrow morning, when everyone was still asleep I would come downstairs again and carve my name beside his.


I often listen to a piece of music when I’m writing and this time it was Iron and Wine’s Muddy Hymnal. If you want to hear it, here’s a link:

I’m writing a novel and I use the 100 word (or so) prompt for Madison Woods’ #Fridayfictioneers as ideas for scenes. So this piece of writing was a combination of novel, picture and music.

I’d love to receive comments and constructive criticism. Click here to read other people’s stories inspired by this picture, provided by Raina Ng.

32 thoughts on “Short story: Cut in Cursive

  1. With a table fork?

    While I loved the story, the ambiance, mood, the works, my train of thought kept circling the station because of that detail.

    Granted, it could be done, but a steak knife frees things up in my head and the train can leave the station.

    Please don’t let this minor point take away from the fact that I thought your writing wonderful and the story compelling.




    • Hmm, that’s a tricky one. Because what I’m trying all the time to do is not take the reader out of the story and make them worry about something.

      But… I wanted something that would show that it took her a long time to do, that she cared about it, that as sustainabilitea says above, was a labour of love. Plus, there’s the fact that this is mirrors the song lyrics nicely. A steak knife does it too quickly and easily for me.

      A good one to debate…


      • I get the time aspect and respect its place in your vision for the story. perhaps it is the word carve, which speaks of a cutting edge of some sort to me. I can see pressing the tines into soft wood… I think this is all my problem and not yours. Thanks for being so mellow. Aloha, D.


  2. I enjoyed the moment captured. To Doug’s point, maybe the verbs ‘etched’ or ‘blunted’ or ‘scraped’ or ‘chisseled’ or even ‘gouged’ could be used to convey the cutting processes by way of a duller instrument. Each one delivers themes slightly different, and different still from ‘carve’. For me, this is one of the fun parts of writing…trying to find the perfect combination of letters, the best grouping of words, the perfect phrasing, all of it a challenge, a game. We are all fortunate, I think, to have this safe environment inwhich to share/discuss/debate the pros and cons.


  3. I definitely liked this – the details are nice but not overwhelming, and your character comes through really nicely. I want to know more, too. (I’m a fan of Iron and Wine, and I can definitely see the calm influence here). Nice job!


  4. When I read this I thought Ruben had died, then I cheated and looked up the lyrics for “Muddy Hymnal”. I can see how your story has traces of the song yet you’ve chosen to follow your own path. I like the use of carved, cursive and the fork as they refer back to your inspiration.


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